Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Chirping Smoke Alarm

I was awakened in the wee hours of the morning by the sound of chirping. No, it was not a bird. It was my #%^@ smoke alarm telling me that it was time to change the battery. Grrrrr! Is there any worse sound in all the world? I asked myself.

I turned on the light, climbed up on a step ladder and yanked the alarm from the ceiling. Then I crawled back into bed and tried to resume my interrupted dreams. 

But my question kept nagging at me. Is there any worse sound in all the world than a smoke alarm chirping in the middle of the night when you’re sleeping soundly?

Now, that’s a first-world question, if ever there was one. Yes, there are lots of worse sounds. Like the sound of a child crying because she’s hungry and you’ve nothing to give her to eat. Or even worse, the silence of a child who is so hungry she no longer has the energy to cry. Yes, that’s worse than the sound of a smoke alarm chirping. Or the sound of a gunshot in a neighborhood where innocent people are too often killed by guns. How about the sound of bombs expoding all around you while you hold your breath and pray that you will escape the next one?  

These were not the thoughts of a person who was about to drift off to sleep.

I couldn't stop thinking about all the horrible sounds that were happening right at that moment, all over the world, while I was resting on my pillow-top mattress, cozy-warm beneath my down comforter, snuggled between my dog and cat. 

Some would be thankful for being so "blessed." But I can't go there. To say that I am blessed is to say that God decided to plant me in the United States, in an affluent lifestyle, with more material stuff than I know what to do with. And if God decided to do that for me, then God chose not to do that for millions of other people. The whole blessed thing doesn't work for me. I’m not blessed. I'm just incredibly lucky.

And why me? Why have I been so lucky while other people in this world have been so unlucky? Why have I been lucky enough to wake up in the middle of the night cursing a chirping smoke alarm?

No comments: